For the third straight game, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers were separated by just one goal. Thanks to a Jay Beagle’s marker, it was the Capitals that came out ahead 1-0 on Monday to take a 2-1 series lead.
This was truly a goaltending duel as even Beagle’s goal was the result of a shot that bounced off Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle’s skate right next to the line. It would have consequently been very difficult for Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to stop it. In fact, Lundqvist has been great so far in the 2015 playoffs and the fact that the Rangers now find themselves trailing shouldn’t be put on his shoulders.
Rather than put too much blame on the Rangers in general, it seems appropriate to credit Capitals netminder Braden Holtby. The 25-year-old saved 30 shots to earn his first shutout of the playoffs. The Rangers had some good chances in this one, including this literally last minute attempt by Rick Nash:
Nash fired a team-high seven shots on goal, but is still stuck at just one goal in seven playoff games this year. Postseason woes are nothing new for him as he has six goals in 49 career playoff contests compared to 378 markers in 862 regular season games. His drought is particularly glaring considering that he found the back of the net a career-high 42 times in 2014-15.
The Rangers need to hope that he finds a way to solve Holtby in Game 4 because while their situation isn’t desperate yet, it wouldn’t take much for it to reach that level.
Neither the New York Rangers or Washington Capitals could get an edge in the first period of Game 3 tonight, but that changed 7:31 minutes into the second thanks to Washington forward Jay Beagle.
Beagle fired the puck wide of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but he chased after it and was able to retrieve his own shot while behind the net. Beagle wrapped around and shot the puck towards the goal. Once more the puck was heading away from the net, but this time it hit Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle’s skate and went in.
You can see that sequence below:
That was Beagle’s first goal of the 2015 playoffs and it was also Andre Burakovsky’s first career point in a postseason game. The 20-year-old rookie had nine goals and 22 points in 53 regular season contests.
Washington is 3-0 in the playoffs when scoring first.
Henrik Lundqvist apparently wasn’t expecting it. While falling to the ice, Alex Ovechkin released a perfect wrist shot to beat the New York Rangers goalie on the blocker side.
It was a beautiful goal from Ovechkin, who looked unstoppable as he split New York’s ‘D’ with a determined effort, fell to the ice and made his shot. However, the Capitals couldn’t complete the comeback and lost Game 2, with the Rangers tying up this second-round series.
“He’s one of the best players in the game, there’s no question,” said Lundqvist, as per CSN Washington.
“There’s not a lot of players that can do what he does out there and it’s a challenge for us every game to try to stop him. But to be able to shoot it that hard on your knees, he definitely surprised me a little bit there.
“But you have to be ready for anything, especially that line. They’re playing really well, so you just have to be on your toes out there.”